'What will yours grow into?' Governmentality, governance, social science and the Child Trust Fund

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This article demonstrates a governmentality approach to policy, taking as an example the Child Trust Fund devised and implemented by the New Labour government in the United Kingdom (UK). I argue that in making sense of such a policy we should, as interpretive theories of governance tell us, pay attention to the ideas and beliefs that shaped it and to the longer genealogy that made those ideas possible. In addition, I argue, it is important to study a policy not only as an outcome of the actions of various agents but also as a cause of events in the domains into which it enters. Examining how policies ‘emerge’ out of a complex of activities, and how they then become a part of these, is, I suggest, a vital complement to other methodologies, and enables us to ask broad political-theoretical questions of both policy and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-566
Number of pages20
JournalPolicy & Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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